Canada’s Open and Distance Universities

FAQs about Open and Distance Universities in Canada
Q: What should every student in Canada know about Open and Distance Universities?

A: They are an easy way to get in university without a high school diploma. They can also offer a wider range of courses if you are already enrolled in university.

Q: Do these programs not require high school diplomas?

A: Absolutely not! These programs provide access to universities for:

People who live in remote locations and cannot or choose not to travel to Canada to attend a university
Students who are not high school graduates and who choose to be alternatively educated (homeschoolers, child actors/athletes/travellers), may have a different high school experience.
Students who are gifted, highly motivated or accelerated and decide to skip high school to go straight to university-level education
Normal high school students realized they could finish their university studies more efficiently and without all the drama of admissions.
Current university students who are interested in additional courses or flexible offerings
Q: What happens if I want to attend a traditional university or take a course that is not available online?

A: Students often enroll at distance/open universities for one or two years, then transfer to another institution. This means that you don’t need a high school diploma to study at distance/open universities for as little as one academic year, then can apply for transfer to the university and program of choice.

Access to Canadian universities is possible through open and distance universities.

At the time this article was written, there was an argument ( Academic Transform: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education In Ontario) that argued for the creation of an Open University in Ontario in order to address the growing student population and to remove any barriers to access. An important component of a successful postsecondary education system is the open university.

You have many reasons to take courses at a Canadian distance university. Distance education in Canada is accessible and flexible. You can take advantage of the opportunity to add a class in the summer, as a co-op placement or while you are still in high school. You will have a wider range of courses than what your university offers. You can also choose to save money and work from home for your whole degree.

A distance university that has an open admissions policy is a good choice.You can still enrol, even if your educational background is not traditional.Open universities don’t require formal education or credentials to be admitted. They are open to mature students, homeschoolers, and others who have not completed high school but wish to gain an equal access to university education.

There are many types of distance and open universities
There are no admission requirements for universities. Undergraduate degree programs can be done online (mostly online).

Athabasca Univeristy – This Alberta university is a popular choice for Canadian students. It offers a wide range of online courses that lead to many undergraduate and graduate degrees. The following undergraduate degrees can be completed online at Athabasca:

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of General Studies
Bachelor of Health Administration
Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations
Bachelor of Management
Bachelor of Nursing
Bachelor of Professional Arts
Bachelor of Science
Thompson Rivers University- TRU in BC is similar to Athabasca. It offers a variety of undergraduate degrees with an open admission policy.

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Business Studies
Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Technology
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science in Health Science
Bachelor of Tourism Management
TRU also offers a ” Headstart” program to secondary students in BC, as well as many certificates and non-credit learning options.

Canadian Virtual University-Universite Virtuelle Canadienne consortium (CVU-UVC), was established in 2000 to bring together Canadian universities that specialize in distance and online education. Students could easily access courses at any partner university through agreements made by the universities. CVU-UVC has been discontinued as the e-learning landscape has changed.

These are the universities that are members of CVU and offer distance education:

Athabasca University – Open University, all degrees by distance
Carleton University
Laurentian University (see the below for more information)
Memorial University of Newfoundland (see the below for more information)
Mount Royal University (see the below for more information)
Nipissing University (see the below for more information)
Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Roads University
TELUQ – l’universite at a distance de
Thompson Rivers University – Open University, all degrees by distance
University of Manitoba (see the below for more information)
University of New Brunswick
British Columbia University Consortium
Thompson Rivers University Open Learning has agreements to offer distance courses from other universities.

Simon Fraser University (SFU).
The University of Victoria (UVic).
The University of British Columbia (UBC).
does not require separate admission to member universities.

The University Consortium also includes the University of Northern British Columbia and Royal Roads University. These courses are not available through TRUOL. To register for their courses in a TRUOL undergraduate degree, you must contact them individually.

Alberta University Consortium
The consortium was previously organized under the eCampusAlberta umbrella. However, it is no longer centralized. As of 2017, the consortium is no longer centralized under the umbrella of eCampusAlberta.

While both Thompson Rivers University and Athabasca University offer complete degree programs, many students opt to use their open admission policy to gain entry to university and begin their academic careers.

After completing at least one year of undergraduate studies, students can apply to transfer to any university in Canada as a university student. Transfer credit and advanced standing may be available to transfer students. Every university has its own transfer policy. You should verify with the university that you are interested in admission to learn more about their policies regarding receiving and transferring credit.

You can be admitted to any Canadian university even if you don’t have credit from your previous year of study at Athabasca, TRU or TRU.

University of Guelph- The University of Guelph, Ontario, offers a distance Open Learning Program. Guelph’s Open Learning program allows learners from around the globe to access degree-credit distance education courses. This is for personal enrichment, professional growth, or application to a traditional Guelph Degree Program. There are no admission requirements. Guelph’s Open Learning Program is an easy way to seamlessly transfer into a degree program. Guelph offers a wide range of courses via distance education. However, they don’t explicitly state that you can earn an undergraduate degree entirely online. To complete their degree requirements, students may need to attend classes on campus or transfer to another institution.

Most universities require you to meet the normal admission requirements. However, many universities allow students to take a limited number of courses at other institutions in order to fulfill their degree requirements.

Dalhousie University offers a distance-based undergraduate degree in Social Work. You can also get a university diploma or certificate program.

Lakehead University is an Ontario university that offers undergraduate degrees online. It includes a Bachelor of Arts (general) and a Bachelor of Science (Post-RN) for registered nurse. You can also choose from a selection of graduate degrees at the master’s or doctorate levels.

Laurentian University offers distance and online courses. CVU member school.

Memorial University offers online undergraduate degree programs. These include a Bachelor in Arts (only English or Police Studies majors are available entirely online), Bachelor in Business Administration, Bachelor in Maritime Studies, Bachelors of Nursing (post RN), and Bachelors of Technology. There are also Masters-level degrees in Nursing, Education, and Social Work.

Mount Allison University offers many courses via correspondence. Distance learning is not an option for all degrees. Students must fulfill regular university admission requirements.

Nipissing University offers an Bachelor of Commerce entirely online. CVU member school.

Queen’s University, Ontario has a wide range of online courses and programs. Students can complete a Bachelor of Arts (or Bachelor of Science) degree completely through Continuing and Distance Studies. Students who are unable to attend regular classes can earn their degree through combining Queen’s courses and distance education courses from other universities with a Letter of Permission. The admission requirements for Queen’s University are the same as those for general admission.

Royal Roads University offers an online Bachelor of Arts degree in International Hotel Management, justice studies, and professional communication. They also offer an online Bachelor of Commerce (Hotel and Tourism Management) and an online Bachelor of Science (Environmental Management). Online M.A. (M.B.A.A.) and M.Sc. Online Certificates and Diplomas are also available.

Ryerson University has an extensive selection of online courses. Some certificates can be transferred to Ryerson University’s undergraduate degree program. The admission requirements for Ryerson are the same as Ryerson’s general admission requirements.

University of Manitoba offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Social Work entirely online. You can also take 140 courses via distance education from various Science and Arts faculties.

University of Ottawa, Ontario offers many online undergraduate courses. However, it is not mentioned if an undergraduate degree can be obtained entirely remotely.

University of Waterloo offers more than 240 online courses. These courses can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, as well as graduate degrees. Regular attendance degree programs have the same admission requirements.

University of Western Ontario offers many distance learning courses. Some Arts degrees are now available with minors or majors in selected humanities and social science areas. Regular attendance degree programs have the same admission requirements.

University of Victoria in British Columbia offers a Bachelor of Social Work via distance education. The equivalent of two years undergraduate work is required for admission to the program. Transfer credit from another university may be accepted. You could start undergraduate studies at an open university and then apply to the BSW delivered by distance.

Wilfred Laurier Univ offers a wide range of online undergraduate courses. Laurier’s online education program can be applied directly to OUAC. However, it is not clear if an entire degree can also be earned remotely.

York University offers distance learning courses for undergraduate degrees through the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. Although this faculty offers bachelor’s degrees in arts, administrative studies, human resource management, and social work, their website doesn’t clarify if these degrees are available entirely online. There are many online courses they offer.